Excel 2016 for Mac brings lots of welcome improvements to the workhorse spreadsheet but also leaves out useful tools.
Moving to the cloud: Like the other apps in the latest Mac Office suite, Excel 2016 lets you store, sync, and edit files online, via Microsoft's OneDrive cloud storage service. You can also save Excel files to your Dropbox account.
Collaborate: Excel 2016, through OneDrive, lets you share documents with colleagues and collaborate in real time. You can chat online as well, either through a document chat window or through Skype.
Modern design: The redesigned ribbon for the Mac version of Excel borrows the look and feel of its Windows counterpart, presenting tools and formatting options in much the same way as Excel for Windows does. Excel also recommends appropriate charts based on spreadsheet data.
Moving across platforms: Excel 2016 supports many of the Windows keyboard shortcuts and most of the Excel 2013 for Windows functions, which should make it easier to use the tool across platforms. The update also includes an Analysis ToolPak add-in, PivotTable slicers for analyzing data, and an improved formula builder.
Macro limits: Prior to Office 2016, you could build macros in Excel for Mac. The 2016 edition offers what Microsoft calls a "simplified" Visual Basic Editor (VBE), which allows you to debug existing macros. But if you want to build new macros, you need to do that on the Windows side or use an earlier Mac version. For those who built macros in preceding Mac editions, this is a big loss.
Excel 2016 is probably worth the upgrade just based on its ability to take advantage of OneDrive. The new analysis tools and formula builder help keep Microsoft's spreadsheet an essential tool. Hobbling its macros tool, however, diminishes a bit of the attraction for serious users.